Wednesday, 14 March 2012

ms Amsterdam (2010)

In June 2010 I enjoyed a 42 day voyage from Singapore to Seattle aboard Holland America Line's ms Amsterdam. The ship, which spends most of the year on world cruises, was extremely spacious, comfortable and beautifully decorated. As usual, food and service were excellent. The passengers were a mix of mostly Dutch and American with a sprinkling of English, Germans and Australians also. They were mostly a very congenial mob.
The itinerary was Singapore, Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Phu My, Halong Bay (Vietnam), Hong Kong, Shanghai, Xingang (China), Cheju City (South Korea), Kagoshima, Kobe, Yokohama, Hakodate (Japan), Petropavlovsk (Russia), Vancouver (Canada), Seattle (USA).

Singapore - Mar 19 - 20

Singapore is a city I've worked in and otherwise visited quite a lot. I admire the city's infrastructure, efficiency and cleanliness.

I am always dismayed at the state of our public transport system when I travel on Singapore's spotless, safe and impeccably punctual MRT.

This skate park off Orchard Road must be about the only place you'd see graffiti. Presumably it's permitted at this location.
ms Amsterdam at the Singapore cruise terminal the day before my embarkation.

On embarkation day the Costa Allegra was also in port. She was recently in the news because of a fire in the engine room that disabled the ship near Somalia.

Departure Singapore

Shipping in Singapore harbour.

Sihanoukville - Mar 22

A fishing village just astern of the ship's berth.
At these sorts of ports especially, it's great to get back to the ship for a drink, swim and relaxtion in the cossetted environment on board.

Phu My - Mar 24

River traffic.

Vietnam sunset.


Halong Bay - Mar 26

Ship repairs at the anchorage.
I had lunch ashore at this very good restaurant - beautiful food and very cheap by Australian standards.

Returning to the ship by tender.
 Hong Kong - Mar 28 - 29

View from Victoria Peak looking towards Kowloon.
I always enjoy seeing the hotel Rollers at The Peninsula.
An old apartment building on Victoria Peak - very Chinese!
A modern tower block in the business district on Victoria Island.

Views from the cable car, descending Victoria Peak.

ms Amsterdam at the Kowloon cruise terminal.

Shipping on Hong Kong harbour.

 Shanghai - Apr 1 - 2

This was my first visit to Shanghai and hopefully not my last. It is a fascinating place to visit and fortunately ms Amsterdam was able to berth at the cruise terminal next to The Bund whereas larger cruise ships (over 87,000 tons) must dock at a terminal 30km from downtown Shanghai, due to a  low bridge on the Huangpu River.

Buildings on the river front adjacent to The Bund.

Crowds on The Bund. Astonishingly, this was on a regular week day morning when residents and visitors are out and about.

The foyer of one of the western hotels in Shanghai.

Passing a shipyard downstream while sailing down the river.

Xingang Apr 5 - 6

Xingang is used as a port for passengers wanting to visit Beijing, 100 kms away. Not wishing to spend so much time in a bus, I went to the local town of Tianjin instead.

The Xingang pilot on Amsterdam's bridge while approaching the berth.

Shipping on the Xi river at Xingang.

Views from the ship's Crows Nest lounge.

Chefs at a hotel in Tianjin.
State owned flats.
Oil rig tenders at Xingang.
Sunset photos at Xingang.

Cheju City - Apr 8

Unusual headline arrangement.

Nothing like the 2 Queen Marys I've been aboard.

Kagoshima - Apr 9

 Kobe - Apr 10 - 11

The Kobe harbour pilot boarding.

Kobe from a driver-less train that runs past the cruise terminal.

Container shipping in Kobe harbour.

Yokohama - Apr 12 - 13

Shipping in Tokyo Bay.

The Yokohama waterfront.

Hikawa Maru is a fascinating museum ship.

Departure Yokohama.

Hakodate - Apr 15

I didn't go ashore here because of the weather however a group of high school girls, escorted by their teachers, came aboard to practise their English and demonstrate origami.

Petropavlovsk - Apr 18
This forlorn outpost of far eastern Russia used to be an important naval base. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the decay is obvious.

It never occurred to me before that the Dutch and Russian flags are identical apart from the colours being in a different sequence.

Laid up trawlers rusting away.

Locals enjoying a beer and a smoke in the snow.
Remnants of an earlier time.

The sense of desolation is palpable.

Medical Evacuation off Kodiak Island, Alaska - Apr 21

During the voyage from Petropavlovsk to Vancouver one of the younger passengers became seriously ill and was subsequently air lifted from the ship to a coastguard base on Kodiak Island then flown on to a hospital in Anchorage, Alsaka.

The rescue helicopter approaching the ship with the Hercules escort in the background.

The coastguard doctor being lowered on to the ship's bow.

The strength of the helicopter's searchlight can be seen as a snow squall blew through.

The patient being loaded into the helicopter.

Transit of the passage inside Vancouver Island - Apr 24.

The Canadian BC pilot boards.

The crisp air here was full of scents from the pine forests.

Yours truly after five weeks of high living aboard.
Vancouver - Apr 26

Vancouver has an excellent multi-berth cruise terminal downtown.

Departure Vancouver.
Woodship carrier in Vancouver harbour.

Sailing out under Lions Gate Bridge with Stanley Park to port.

Around the ship

Afternoon tea in the Crows Nest lounge.
Another of the many comfortable lounges.
The showroom.

On the bridge.

Me with the Chief Officer.

Styker, from the US entertained each night in the Piano Bar. He's a great entertainer, a really nice guy and deservedly very popular with the passengers.

A couple of the great bar staff.

My lovely wine waitress.
My friendly and obliging table stewards.

Everyone has to start somewhere.

I was invited one night to a special dinner for six at a table in the galley. The food was superb and it was fascinating to watch the galley operation in full swing.
The Executive Chef (L) with two of his assistants.
These electronic boards are used to keep track of meals ordered in the dining room.

Junior table stewards queing up to collect appertisers for their passengers.
The Executive Chef (L) and the Food and Beverage Manager (R) making a passenger swoon.

A satisfied diner in the galley.


  1. Wow! What a wonderful record of this long cruise.
    I would like to comment individually for many beautiful photos, but there are so many of them!
    Well done.

  2. What a fantastic series of photos, Tim! This was a mammoth trip on a wonderful ship and you have captured some beauties there.